Diet Supplements Might Not Help Your New Year's Weight Loss

First Posted: Dec 30, 2014 06:06 PM EST

Chances are weight loss is part of your New Year's resolution. Unfortunately, diet pills will probably not get you what you want. 

New findings published in the Nutrition Business Journal found that Americans are still misinformed. Residents have spent close to $2 billion on them, potentially thinking these little pills are the cure to their sedentary lifestyle or unealthy diet. 

Now, research released by Consumer Reports with the findings from a new survey also shows that many Americans are unsure of how these supplements work.

"The barrage of advertising leads us to think there's a magic way to melt away 10 pounds -- even when we have no evidence that supplements work," said Dr. Pieter Cohen, a physician at Harvard Medical School who studies supplements, in a news release. "The labels on weight loss supplements look like those on over-the-counter medications, and the supplement facts are organized like nutrition facts labels," he added. "There's no way for consumers to tell the difference."

Research showed that about 25 percent of those surveyed believe that the products had fewer side effects than over-the-counter prescription medications. Unfortunately, the same survey shows that's not true, with many participants reporting symptoms including rapid heart rate, constipation and/or diarrhea and dry mouth, along with other issues.

The survey also showed that many who are already taking medications for a pre-existing condition may not properly inform their doctor of the new supplement, which could lead to a serious health complication. 

"These products can interact with prescription medications, but consumers often feel that supplements are different from prescription drugs, and doctors don't ask about them," said Cohen.

Old practices like a healthy diet and exercise aren't always fun, but they do seem to work and be safe. Check with your doctor to find out what's right for you. 

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